Downtown park getting washrooms

Families who enjoy a fountain spray and outdoor wading pool downtown will soon have environmentally friendly washrooms to use.

Families who enjoy a fountain spray and outdoor wading pool downtown will soon have environmentally friendly washrooms to use.

A washroom building is being constructed just south of the Centennial Plaza Park on the corner of 52nd Avenue and Alexander Way (48th Street).

The free public washrooms, which will have two stalls and one sink for each sex, will hopefully be open by the May long weekend, said City of Red Deer Parks superintendent Trevor Poth.

Although the building is less than 700 square feet in size, it’s bound to make a big difference for the users of the spray park.

The park was built in 2005 and included plans for a washroom building.

Poth said the city wanted to see how popular the park would be before installing any washrooms. It was discovered the area was well used.

“The public has been coming downtown and they are using it on a regular basis on nice summer days,” Poth said.

Many of the park visitors were using washrooms at neighbouring businesses, he added.

Council approved $374,000 within the 2009 capital budget for these washrooms.

“It looks like we’re going to be on budget for them,” Poth said.

Construction began late last fall on the pre-fabricated building. It was then moved to the site where it is being assembled. It features concrete walls as well as rock work similar to the nearby Medican condominium building.

“It’s meant to blend in with the Medican building in appearance,” said Poth. “It’s mostly there for function and less on aesthetics.”

Like other washrooms in city parks, this one will be closed at night to avoid any vagrancy or other trouble.

Poth anticipates Park Plaza would open as soon as the caretaker fuels up the fountain around 8:30 a.m. It would then shut down at about 9:30 p.m.

The spray park normally closes Labour Day weekend.

Poth said the city is also adding environmental features into its new buildings and this one is no different.

It includes solar heating panels, which will be used to heat the in-floor heating system and which will keep the building above-freezing through the winter. The toilets are water efficient, low-flow ones. Motion sensor lights were also installed.

The building also has transparent blocks on the roof so that some natural light comes in.

“We wanted them to feel as open as possible and make sure that people feel safe using them as well,” Poth said.

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